Local Produce and Protein Program announced by Iowa ag leaders

Iowa governor Kim Reynolds is allocating $500,000 in CARES Act funding to help schools purchase locally-grown products from Iowa farmers impacted by pandemic-related supply chain disruptions. The Iowa Department of Agriculture will administer three grant programs to award the funds.

“Connecting Iowa farmers with schools, early care centers, and places of higher education creates more markets for their products and allows schools to serve students a larger variety of fresh, locally-grown foods,” says Iowa secretary of agriculture Mike Naig. “Through this program and funding support from Gov. Reynolds, we can help strengthen local food systems and help support farmers and schools who have been impacted by COVID-19-related supply chain disruptions.”

These grant opportunities support the purchase of Iowa-grown and raised food by offering funding to purchase protein and produce, as well as equipment and supplies needed to make this food accessible to children.

Equipment Grant for K-12 Schools

Iowa K-12 schools can apply to be reimbursed for some of the costs associated with purchasing kitchen equipment and supplies that allow the food service program to offer more fresh produce and protein sourced from Iowa farmers. For example, school kitchens may purchase food sealer machines, coolers, dicers, single-portion containers, and grab-and-go food supplies. To be eligible for this grant, the school must also apply for the local food sub-grant (listed below).

Up to $160,000 will be allocated for these sub-grants. The funds will be divided among approved K-12 schools. Each approved applicant may receive up to $5,000, depending on the number of applicants. The expenses must be incurred between March 1 and Dec. 1, 2020. Applications are due Sept. 7, 2020. Funds must be expended by Dec. 1, 2020.

Local Food Grant for All Iowa Schools

All Iowa schools, including K-12, colleges, and universities and early care centers, can apply for the local food sub-grant. Approved schools will be reimbursed for a portion of the costs to purchase produce and protein from local farmers. At least half of the funds must be used to purchase fruits and vegetables. Produce, liquid and shelled eggs, and dairy products (excluding liquid milk) must be purchased directly from local producers, food hubs, or food auctions. Meat and poultry products must be processed in-state or by a USDA-inspected meat locker.

Up to $220,000 will be allocated for these sub-grants. The funds will be divided among approved Iowa schools. The expenses must be incurred between March 1 and Dec. 1, 2020. Applications are due Sept. 7, 2020. Funds must be expended by Dec. 1, 2020.

Equipment Grant for Producers and Food Hubs

Iowa specialty crop producers and food hubs can apply to be reimbursed for the purchase of supplies and equipment needed to serve their products in schools, colleges, universities and early care centers. Some examples of eligible purchases include refrigerated trucks, cold storage units, and boxes and packaging equipment. Producers must be willing to sell to schools and enroll in the Farm to School directory to be eligible.

Up to $110,000 will be allocated to support these sub-grants. The money will be divided among approved producers and food hubs. Each approved applicant may receive $5,000 to $10,000, depending on the number of approved applicants. Applications are due Sept. 7, 2020. Funds must be expended by Dec. 1, 2020.

Learn More

Eligible applicants can apply for the Local Produce and Protein Program grants online at iowaagriculture.gov/grants. Please contact Tammy Stotts, program administrator, with questions at 515.281.7657 or tammy.stotts@iowaagriculture.gov.

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